A plume containing radioactive plutonium isotopes has now made its way at least a half mile away from the nuclear waste storage facility
CARLSBAD, N.M. (INTELLIHUB) — Radioactive plutonium isotopes have now been detected in an air filter located about one-half mile northwest the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant which experienced a “radiological event” as reported by the U.S. Dept. of Energy and Intellihub News early on this week.
A WIPP air monitor detected airborne radiation underground late Friday night, setting off an alert, the Journal reported. WIPP reported the next day that its ventilation system had immediately switched to filtration mode, minimizing any potential release of radiation.
WIPP said in a statement Wednesday that its filters remove at least 99.97 percent of contaminants from the air, “meaning a minute amount still can pass through.”
“There is a lot more that needs to be known,” Don Hancock, director of the Nuclear Waste Safety Program at the Southwest Research and Information Center in Albuquerque, told local media.
“The big problem is, does anybody really know what happened in the underground and how much was released or is continuing to be released? And, therefore, how much is being captured by the filters and how much is getting into the environment?”
Amazingly a brief analysis was conducted and has been posted at “Pissing On the Roses”, a blog which details just how serious this matter really is and what it means for locals and others downwind.
Pissing on the Roses posted the following statement in regards to the recent radioactive release:
CEMRC reports they found 0.64 Bq of Americium 241 & 0.092 Bq of Plutonium 239+240 in the air filter 1/2 mi away from WIPP.
Those contamination values mean that a person directly down wind during that time period inhaled 36 TRILLION Plutonium atoms. Assuming normal breathing rates, and uniform distribution, a person would have had to be on site for 3.6 hours to have inhaled 1 TRILLION Plutonium atoms, one of which would have released an Alpha Radiation particle INSIDE of his/her lungs.
Cases of lung cancer in the region are expected to skyrocket.
(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
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